A new initiative by the South African Rugby Union and the Department of Sport and Recreation is aiming to lay the foundation for an ambitious process to substantially broaden the base of Women’s rugby in South Africa.
SARU and the Department of Sport joined forced two months ago to develop the skill and overall preparation of women's rugby players and to increase the technical and tactical awareness of coaches.
Through the “Capacity Building Project for Women’s Rugby Players” the initiative aims to target players and coaches in the remote rural areas, from Cape Town in the South to Polokwane in the northern Limpopo province.
According to Mahlubi Puzi, the SARU Manager for Women’s Rugby, the programme consists of several workshop and training sessions spread over a period of four months.
“The programme is aimed at players and coaches in the rural areas of the various provinces, which covers a vast area," said Puzi.
"There is a huge need for the sharing of rugby knowledge amongst women players, coaches and administrators. This programme will hopefully help us to fill that gap as it concentrates on the application of proper training methods, skills and drills as well as aspects such as fitness, conditioning and nutrition.
“We are extremely grateful for the Department of Sport for their assistance. Through this programme we now can reach almost 400 players and teach more than 200 coaches the correct, basic aspects of coaching and talent identification."
A total of 50 players and 30 coaches from specifically targeted areas are invited to an intense two-day programme, where the list of activities on day one cover a broad spectrum of subjects ranging from fitness and conditioning to on-field training for players.
The coaches receive a detailed introduction to the philosophies of coaching, they are shown the latest skills and drills techniques and also participate in a discussion on selection and talent identification. On the second day, both groups participate in a 'Boksmart' workshop – the rugby safety programme of SARU.
The two-day get together concludes with a discussion between players and coaches on issues relating to competitions and pathways for players.
The workshop facilitators are Denver Wannies, who coached SA women to last year's Women's Rugby World Cup in England, Khaya Malotana (coaching), Denzil van Heerden (fitness and conditioning) as well as the local Boksmart provincial union representative.
The programme started on 26-27 in February in Umtata in the Eastern Cape and was followed by two more training workshops in early March in King William’s Town and Graaff Reinet. The next stop is Polokwane (19-20 March), Durban (26-27 March), Port Elizabeth (22-24 April) and Newlands (30-31 May).
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